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The special meaning behind the Queen's Commonwealth Day appearance brooch

The Queen choose one of her favourite pieces for the BBC One programme

Kate Thomas

The Queen opted for a poignant choice of brooch for her appearance in the A Celebration for Commonwealth Day programme, set to air on BBC One on Sunday.

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The special broadcast, which marks the monarch's lifetime commitment to the Commonwealth, will see her deliver her annual Commonwealth Day message, paying tribute to the way in which communities across the family of nations have come together in response to the pandemic.

In a portrait released prior to the show, the 94-year-old monarch looks elegant in blue, with her treasured chrysanthemum brooch taking pride of place. 

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The Queen was photographed with a backdrop of flags inside St George's Hall at Windsor Castle wearing a delphinium blue dress by Angela Kelly, paired with a matching jacket of silk and wool cloque.

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The chrysanthemum brooch, made from dazzling sapphires and diamonds, is a special piece from her collection. It has been the Queen's since 1946, and Her Majesty has chosen to wear it on many important occasions ever since, including for official portraits as well as her honeymoon with Prince Philip in 1947.

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A photograph of Her Majesty The Queen, taken in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle, to mark Commonwealth Day 2021

The Queen was also pictured wearing the brooch when she was photographed with the Duke of Edinburgh to mark their 73rd wedding anniversary in November.

The choice of accessory is all the more poignant since the monarch will be spending the day apart from her husband, who remains in hospital. Prince Philip returned to King Edward VII's hospital for recovery on Friday after his "successful" heart surgery at St Bartholomew's on Wednesday.  

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The brooch is a very special piece in Her Majesty's collection

He was initially admitted to the private King Edward VII's Hospital on February 16 as a precautionary measure after feeling unwell. 

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The Commonwealth represents a global network of 54 countries, and a vast community that spans every geographical region, religion and culture, embracing diversity amongst its population of 2.4billion people.

Supporting the Queen during the programme will be her son Prince Charles, who will speak about the universal ecological devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

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The Queen wore the brooch on her honeymoon with Prince Philip

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall will be discussing the importance of books and reading for children across the Commonwealth.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex will also appear during the programme, set to air just a few hours before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's explosive Oprah Winfrey interview screens in the US.

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